Links of interest 02.05.13

I rarely do this, but maybe I’ll start doing this more often. What do you think?  I just thought I’d share a few posts that made me think this week.


Watching What They Watch — This is very similar to how we choose what our children watch. I think sometimes Christian parents choose shows based on moral tone only. I sometimes hear comments about whether there are attitudes or actions that we want our kids to pick up on (or not). While that is obviously important, I usually think more about the pacing of the show than anything. I am at a stage where I am working really hard to increase my children’s attention span. We read books and chapter books and are slowly seeing a growing attention span. High tempo shows or movies work against this. And most shows for children (even Christian ones) are highly stimulating. Slow-tempo shows are much better and you will find that it doesn’t stimulate your child nearly as much after watching.

“Listen to the video without looking at it. If the video has a lot of up-tempo music that runs throughout the video, your child has a lot more sensory data to intake and process. Look for what editors call “breathing space,” where the audio periodically quiets down.”  Read the rest…

{HT: Keren}

A Wealth of Words  — This is a long article and at the end he expounds on what schools can do to correct the problem of lack of vocabulary. That wasn’t as helpful. But the beginning is fantastic. Your child’s vocabulary is directly linked to how successful he will be in life. Period. He also shares how it is not memorizing words and definitions that will really help them grow their vocabulary. It must be learned in context. My take away? Read, read, read to your kids.

“So there’s a positive correlation between a student’s vocabulary size in grade 12, the likelihood that she will graduate from college, and her future level of income. The reason is clear: vocabulary size is a convenient proxy for a whole range of educational attainments and abilities—not just skill in reading, writing, listening, and speaking but also general knowledge of science, history, and the arts. If we want to reduce economic inequality in America, a good place to start is the language-arts classroom.”

“Such correlations between vocabulary size and life chances are as firm as any correlations in educational research. Of course, vocabulary isn’t perfectly correlated with knowledge. People with similar vocabulary sizes may vary significantly in their talent and in the depth of their understanding. Nonetheless, there’s no better index to accumulated knowledge and general competence than the size of a person’s vocabulary. Simply put: knowing more words makes you smarter. And between 1962 and the present, a big segment of the American population began knowing fewer words, getting less smart, and becoming demonstrably less able to earn a high income.”

Read the rest…

Let Boys be Boys: Play-Fighting  — My son makes guns and swords out of sticks and Legos. It just happens. No one teaches him these things. I think its important to let boys wrestle and fight (to a point). They need to be physical. So let them.

“Isn’t a ‘pacifist boy’ kind of an oxymoron?” a friend recently asked. According to one study,60 to 80 percent of boys played with aggressive toys at home, including guns, while only 30 percent of girls do. Whether this is in how they’re wired or how they’re socialized is tough to tell, but the difference is real, and the impulse for some parents and teachers to squash it is strong.

That’s not a great idea, says Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and author of It’s a Boy! Your Son’s Development from Birth to 18. “Boys think, ‘If you don’t like my play, you don’t like me.'” Furthermore, studies have never shown any link between playing with toy weapons in childhood (including neutral playthings—sticks, blocks—that have been “weaponized”) and violence in adulthood.” Read the rest…

 Have you read anything interesting this week?



  1. I could not agree more about the vocabulary idea. That’s the major reason why I’ve always done chapter read-alouds with my kids, even when they were tiny toddlers. And I encourage them to read a range of difficulty levels (the two who read independently anyway) and include older and classic books on their own as well. Older books have much richer vocabularies than modern ones.

    The boy violence thing is sometimes difficult to navigate for me, since my son is one boy among sisters and I don’t want him to think he can hit girls with impunity. My husband tries to take time to wrestle and play swordfight with him, and I’m always looking for ways for Jack to fight something in a way that is, for lack of a better way to describe it, chivalrous. Lately he’s all about building Roman warships and fortresses and weaponry out of Legos and foam paper. It would never occur to the girls to do that.

    • Yes, older books definitely have a richer vocabulary. But I guess that makes sense when you look at the statistics pointed out in that article. Clearly we have lost the love for words.

      As to the boy thing, I get you. That has been a struggle for me as well since our second is a girl. While she is a very active girl, she still plays differently. Brian also wrestles and ‘fights’ with him and that helps. There have been times when I have texted Brian to alert him of the need of a wrestling match when he gets home from work. Sometimes Stefan just needs to get that aggressive energy out. And when he does it in the form of play, he isn’t as likely to do it in an aggressive/mean way with his sister. :)

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